water conservation arizona landscape plants
Low-Water Groundcovers

Groundcovers can enliven an area by carpeting bare soil or large expanses of granite with color and texture. Find groundcover selection and design tips.

Click the photo or [plant info sheet] links to get detailed information about each plant as well as photos of the plants. For a guide to understanding plant names, click here.

Common Name: Trailing Acacia
Botanical Name: Acacia redolens


[Plant Info Sheet]

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Mature Size: 1' h x 10' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Small yellow
Sun: full or reflected sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: early spring
Water: low plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: gray-green
Growth Rate: fast plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: medium
Form: spreading low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 11-20° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Good for banks and erosion control.
Native to: Australia
Look for the prostrate form; upright forms can reach 4-5 feet high or more.
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Trailing Desert Broom
Botanical Name: Baccharis hybrid


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 3' h x 4' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: White (nonshowy)
Sun: full sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: fall
Water: low plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: bright green
Growth Rate: fast plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: fine
Form: spreading low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 1-10° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Tolerates tough conditions.
Native to: Horticultural Selection
Look for selections that are nonseeding with uniform growth habit.
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Red Spike Ice Plant
Botanical Name: Cephalophyllum 'Red Spike'


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 1/2' h x 1/2' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Brilliant red-cerise
Sun: full sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: winter to early spring
Water: low plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: medium green
Growth Rate: slow plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: coarse
Form: clumping low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 11-20° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Winter color. Good for small spaces.
Native to: Horticultural Selection
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Damianita
Botanical Name: Chrysactinia mexicana


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 2' h x 2' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Golden yellow, daisylike
Sun: full or reflected sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: spring and fall
Water: very low plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: dark green
Growth Rate: slow plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: fine
Form: mounding low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: <0° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Fragrant foliage. Good for courtyards.
Native to: Mexico, Texas, western Texas
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Bush Morning Glory
Botanical Name: Convolvulus cneorum


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 2' h x 3' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Showy white
Sun: full or reflected sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: spring
Water: very low plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: silvery-gray
Growth Rate: fast plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: medium
Form: mounding low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 11-20° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Requires well-drained soil. Attracts pollinators.
Native to: southern Europe
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Trailing Dalea
Botanical Name: Dalea greggii


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 2' h x 6' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Lavender-purple clusters
Sun: full or reflected sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: spring to summer
Water: low plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: silvery-green
Growth Rate: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: fine
Form: spreading low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 11-20° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Attracts Wildlife: growing plants in the desert southwest
Other Features: Tolerates tough conditions.
Native to: Chihuahuan Desert
Also try D. capitata.
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Blue Euphorbia
Botanical Name: Euphorbia rigida


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 2' h x 3' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Chartreuse
Sun: full sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: midwinter to spring
Water: very low plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: blue-green
Growth Rate: slow-moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: coarse
Form: mounding low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 11-20° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: yes, may irritate skin growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Striking foliage and flowers.
Native to: Mediterranean
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Trailing Gazania
Botanical Name: Gazania rigens


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: <1' h x 1 1/2' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Orangey, bronze, yellow, daisylike
Sun: full sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: late winter to spring
Water: low plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: silver to green
Growth Rate: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: medium
Form: trailing low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 11-20° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Brilliant flower colors. May die out in summer if overwatered.
Native to: Africa, South Africa
Look for selections that offer a variety of flower and foliage colors.
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Lantana
Botanical Name: Lantana hybrid


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 2' h x 3' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Yellow, orange, gold
Sun: full sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: year-round in frost free weather
Water: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: medium green
Growth Rate: fast plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: medium
Form: mound, trailing low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 21-30° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: yes, may irritate skin growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Attracts Wildlife: butterflies growing plants in the desert southwest
Other Features: Vibrant summer color. Attracts butterflies.
Native to: Horticultural Selection
Look for selections that offer a variety of flower colors.
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Trailing Lantana
Botanical Name: Lantana montevidensis


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 1' h x 4' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Lavender to white
Sun: full sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: year-round in frost free weather
Water: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: medium green
Growth Rate: fast plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: medium
Form: mound, trailing low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 21-30° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: yes, may irritate skin growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Attracts Wildlife: butterflies growing plants in the desert southwest
Other Features: Attracts butterflies.
Native to: South America
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Gray Ice Plant
Botanical Name: Malephora crocea


[Plant Info Sheet]

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Mature Size: 1/2' h x 1/2' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Orange to red with yellow center
Sun: full sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: spring
Water: very low plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: gray-green
Growth Rate: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: coarse
Form: trailing low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 11-20° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Well adapted to grow in containers.
Native to: South Africa
Also try M. lutea and Carpobrotus edulis.
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Myoporum
Botanical Name: Myoporum parvifolium


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: <1' h x 6' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Small white
Sun: full sun, partial sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: spring
Water: low plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: bright green
Growth Rate: fast plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: medium
Form: trailing low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 11-20° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Good cover on slopes. May die if overwatered.
Native to: Australia
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Tufted Evening Primrose
Botanical Name: Oenothera caespitosa


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 1' h x 2' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Large showy white flowers fade to pink
Sun: full sun, partial sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: spring to fall
Water: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: gray-green
Growth Rate: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: coarse
Form: clumping low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 1-10° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Fragrant flowers open from dusk to early morning.
Native to: Mexico, western U.S.
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Saltillo Primrose
Botanical Name: Oenothera stubbei


[Plant Info Sheet]

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Mature Size: 1/2' h x 4' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Butter yellow
Sun: full sun, partial sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: spring to fall
Water: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: dark green
Growth Rate: fast plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: medium
Form: clumping low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 11-20° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Showy, sweet-scented flowers open from dusk to early morning.
Native to: Mexico, northeast Mexico
Also consider O. berlandieri, although it can be invasive.
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Trailing Rosemary
Botanical Name: Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus'


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 2' h x 4' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Blue
Sun: full sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: winter to spring
Water: low plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: dark green
Growth Rate: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: fine
Form: trailing low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 11-20° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Attracts Wildlife: growing plants in the desert southwest
Other Features: Upright forms are available. Fragrant foliage.
Native to: Horticultural Selection
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Katie Ruellia
Botanical Name: Ruellia brittoniana 'Katie'


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 1' h x 2' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: purple
Sun: full sun, partial sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: spring to fall
Water: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: dark green
Growth Rate: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: medium
Form: mounding low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: 21-30° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Attracts Wildlife: butterflies growing plants in the desert southwest
Other Features: Refined groundcover for small areas.
Native to: Horticultural Selection
Look for selections that offer pink or white flowers.
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Creeping Germander
Botanical Name: Teucrium chamaedrys 'Prostratum'


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 1/2' h x 3' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Pale pink
Sun: full sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: winter to spring
Water: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: medium green
Growth Rate: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: medium
Form: trailing low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: <0° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Fragrant foliage. Requires well-drained soil.
Native to: Horticultural Selection
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Yellow Dot
Botanical Name: Wedelia trilobata


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 1-1/2' h x 6' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Yellow daisylike
Sun: full sun, partial sun, shade plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: spring to summer
Water: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: medium green
Growth Rate: fast plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: medium
Form: trailing low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? evergreen
Hardiness: >30° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: yes, may irritate skin growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Good in containers. Can be invasive if not controlled.
Native to: Central and South America, South America
Plant Type: groundcover
[Plant Info Sheet]